Thursday, December 20, 2012

Back to the Present . . .

. . . which for some of us isn't so merry despite the holiday season, to put it mildly.  I refer to the families in Newtown, CT who have recently lost so much so suddenly.  Like millions of others I simply can't imagine having to endure that kind of pain and desolation.  It was bad enough just to read about children being murdered.  It's incomprehensibly sad.

In fact, to my mind, it is beyond the capacity of the "news" media to report on it.  I have not watched a single news report or listened to a single in-depth report on the incident.  I can't stand the thought of watching lingering shots of weeping families and earnest teenagers holding candles at vigils; of the camera lingering on a stricken relative while the person completely breaks down during an interview that the interviewer won't stop and the cameraman won't stop filming.  There is something simply perverted and obscene about the making public of grief on that scale.  There is no reason for any of us to witness that.  I already know that these people are in the depths.  There is nothing to be gained from wallowing in their misery by means of a news broadcast.  The media should leave the poor people of Newtown alone to bury their dead, grieve and try to start the next phase of life.  The only things worth knowing are how the crazy little bastard got the guns and ammo, and what that situation means for all of us.  None of that needs to be gleaned from the public display of private grief.

On a related note, why is there not an outpouring like this every time a child gets murdered in this country or anywhere else?  Children and teens are killed all the time in the inner cities and other impoverished areas of the country, yet the news media only seems to take note when a nice middle-upper middle class suburb takes the hit.  I understand it's partly the massacre aspect and the gruesome contrast with daily life in a place like that.  I also think that there's a twisted voyeuristic streak that calls for as much of this as they can wring out.  Still, if it's horror perpetrated upon the innocent that really turns on their lust for ratings, there's a war in the eastern Congo that's been going on for years that provides regular copious doses of combat with child soldiers, rape on a mass scale, and the murder of innocents.  We really only get word of that if we listen to NPR or the BBC occasionally.

Children get killed in wars all over the world, but it seems to be taken for granted.  Children are killed in East and West Oakland, South Chicago, South Central LA, the Bronx, or any of the countless rough areas in our society, but do we ever have hour upon hour of vampiric coverage or much in depth examination of it?  No, we don't.  Not like this.  There's something wrong with that.  As usual with a rant like this, I don't have a lot of suggestions for anything that might change it.  It would take someone in charge of programming to decide to change the pattern and I bet if they did, and did it with sensitivity of thought and some restraint, it would be popular and respected.

Then again, what do I know?  Maybe we are living in an idiocracy that has taken us far beyond the hope of such a thing.  We are a nation of wretched slobs, living for our next dose of bread and circuses, whether it comes on Sunday morning or sometime in the 24 hour news cycle, washed down with beer and chips and bean dip.


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